FAQ

TexLUG FAQ
Updated 7-17-2012

If you have comments on the FAQ, please contact TexLUG.


What is TexLUG?

TexLUG (Texas LEGO Users Group) is a very informal club of adult LEGO fans. We like to get together, show off our creations, and . . . Well, that’s basically what we do, right there. This is Texas, so we also have an occasional BBQ.


I thought LEGO was a kids’ toy…

It’s a great kids’ toy, but it’s also an amazing medium for modelers and artists of all ages. We build trains, buildings, mosaics, sculptures, dioramas, and working models of all kinds of vehicles and machinery. Here are just a few links to the non-toy side:

  • Adam Reed Tucker builds huge, amazing architectural models from LEGO. He worked with The LEGO Group to create the Architecture series of sets.
  • A working model of a 2,000-year-old computer, the Antikythera mechanism, created from 1,500 Lego Technic parts, including 300 gears. It accurately predicts eclipses, just like the original.
  • Some builders, like Nathan Sawaya, use LEGO to create fine art!

    How can I join?

    TexLUG has no officers, no constitution, no regular meetings, and no dues. There is no “official list of members” because there is nobody empowered to keep such a list! You join by showing up at the occasional get-togethers (a list of upcoming events is here) or just by participating on our forums or email list.


    How big is the group?

    Across Texas, there are a couple of dozen really active members, most of them in Houston, DFW, Austin, and San Antonio. More than 100 others participate on the forums or show up occasionally, and more than 4000 people attended Brick Fiesta 2012.


    Do I have to build things to join?

    Most of us do, but you’re welcome to just come and look if you’re not ready to start building yet. Or if, like some of us, you have a lot of LEGO but it’s all in storage :(


    Can kids and teens come to TexLUG events?

    Many of our members are parents, and we try to make our events family-friendly. Fans under 18 are welcome at TexLUG gatherings, and may display their creations at events, as long as they are accompanied by at least one legally responsible adult at all times.

    We have had several young builders at Brick Fiesta and they have won top awards.


    What does TexLUG do?

  • It lets its members keep in touch – on our forums, email list, and updating the Pick-A-Brick pages for the LEGO stores in Texas.
  • We have small informal meetings in different cities.
  • We set up exhibits at train shows, science fiction and comic conventions, SXSW, and other shows.
  • When the local LEGO stores need volunteers for demonstrations, there we are!
  • We hold the annual international LEGO fan convention, Brick Fiesta.
  • The LEGO Group occasionally invites active LUG members to make bulk part purchases for use in building their own models (NOT for resale).
  • The LEGO Group lets each LUG name an official “Ambassador.” The TexLUG Ambassador, elected by acclamation since we have no formal structure, is Anthony Sava. He communicates suggestions and concerns from the club members to LEGO, and yes, they do sometimes take suggestions from their fans!

    Does the club have teaching or mentoring programs?

    Not formally. Most of our members will be delighted to explain how they got some particular “build” to work, but we don’t have any organized classes. There are other groups that DO have classes – see the next item.


    Are there other LEGO groups in Texas?

  • First LEGO League is a worldwide program for teaching science and technology through LEGO robotics.
  • Learning Fun 101 offers LEGO robotics classes and even day camps.
  • Techno Chaos offers LEGO robotics classes and camps, and other events including family “nights out.”
  • There’s an independent LEGO User’s Group at the University of Texas. Here’s their UT-LUG Facebook page.

    Will there be another Brick Fiesta?

    Yes! Check it out: www.brickfiesta.com


    I see terms like MOC and AFOL on the TexLUG pages. What do these mean?

    Every group has jargon. Here are some of ours.

  • AFOL – Adult Fan of LEGO (Pronounced “Ay-fol.” Not “Awful,” please…)
  • TFOL – Teen Fan of LEGO
  • KFOL – Kid Fan of Lego
  • LUG – LEGO Users Group (There are groups of LEGO fans all over the world, building things and sharing them with each other and the public.)
  • MOC – My Own Creation (A LEGO model designed by an individual rather than a Lego Corporate official set)
  • Mod – Modification (A LEGO model that you customized after building it from an official set.)
  • SNOT – Not what you think it means. Advanced Lego builders use techniques to attach some parts on the side or upside down – thus, Studs Not On Top.
  • The Wall – The “Pick a Brick” selection at LEGO stores, an ever-changing wall of loose parts that you can buy to design your own creations. Also called “PAB.” We like to share information about what’s on the Wall at local stores.You can find a lot more LEGO fan buzzwords here.

    Where can I find LEGO stores in Texas?

    Click here for a list.


    Is TexLUG sponsored by LEGO?

    The LEGO Group does not officially “sponsor” clubs, but it does recognize the active ones, donate occasional prizes for events, and occasionally slip us a bit of inside information about upcoming sets.


    Do you glue your models together?

    In general, no. Once something is glued, you can’t take it apart and re-use the pieces, and it’s a lot harder to change a model once it glued.

    However, the big models you see at Legoland are glued. And sometimes models meant to be handled at public demonstrations are also glued.


    How can you afford enough pieces to build your giant creations?

    Garage sales and eBay sometimes have good deals on whole tubs of bricks. BrickLink (see below) is a great way to find 50 copies of the exact same strange piece. And when the chain stores put sets on clearance, you can get some great buys (and we share information about good deals on the forums).


    How can I find out more?

    Read the TexLUG forums and/or the email list. Come to events and say hi.


    There are dozens of amazing websites about LEGO. Here are just a few:

  • BrickLink – A site with over 5,000 different online stores where you can buy anything from whole LEGO sets to exactly the individual pieces you want. Their catalog system is a great way to research obscure parts or whole sets.
  • Eurobricks – Lots of forums for fans of different LEGO themes, and lots of news about upcoming sets and fan events.
  • Brickset – The front page is a very good source of news. Brickset also has a searchable list of all LEGO sets ever made!
  • Railbricks – A site for LEGO train modelers.
  • The Brothers Brick – Lots of links to really incredible creations by people all over the world.
  • From Bricks to Bothans – another site with a lot of links to creations and a special emphasis on Star Wars.
  • There are hundreds of LEGO groups on the photo site Flickr. Start here, but search groups for “LEGO” to find others with specific interests.

    Are there local contacts?

    The TexLUG forums have special areas for each of the active cities in Texas. Please contact TexLUG for more detailed information.


    What is a Draft?

    At its simplest terms, a Lego draft is a method of splitting up a quantity of collectively acquired Lego between the individuals that acquired said Lego.

    There is no “official method” and the methodology can change at any time as long as all the participants agree on the rules…this is, however, how TexLUG’s method of Drafting:

    • Everyone agrees on the “Lego” to divide and the Lego is acquired.

      The most common scenario for this is that a single set is selected and each participant is responsible for acquiring that set on their own and bringing it to the event.  The rules that follow however would still be applicable regardless of the ratio of participants to Lego sets.  That is to say, six people could draft one large set, five people could draft seven sets, three people could even draft five totally different sets or any other combination.  The core issue here is that everyone is in agreement on the Lego that will be drafted and has an equitable financial investment at the start of the draft.

    • The Lego is divided into lots.

      Everyone joins forces, rips open the boxes and sorts the Lego.  The common method is to sort all the Lego into lots based on elements.  So if a very small (and weird) set consisted of 4 1×1 dark blue grey bricks, 2 2×8 brown plates, and, and  3 1 x 1 blue round plates and you were drafting 3 of these sets then you would end up with a lot of 12 1×1 dark blue grey bricks, 6 2×8 brown plates, and, and  9 1 x 1 blue round plates.This sorting process is usually very time consuming and is a very social activity

      Highly desirable  lots are often subdivided.  Each minifig is considered an individual lot as well.

    • Selection order is determined.

      This is usually performed by putting numbers in a container and having each participant draw at random.

    • Each person takes a turn choosing a lot, going in the determined order.  They now own that lot.  When each person has gone once, The turn order is reversed and the process is repeated, until all lots have been chosen.This reversal of order means that the first person to choose in round one is the last person in round two.  The last person in round one is the first person in round two.

    With the dividing of the most desirable (i.e. expensive) lots and and the reversal of turn order each round,  each person has the opportunity to end up with a fair distribution of parts (based on value) regardless of initial turn order.  As you would expect though, in practice, people usually pick based on the parts they want most rather than their monetary value.

    Ideally you would also have a number of lots that is a multiple of the number of participants to ensure that each person gets an equal number of lots.  In practice however, the Lego left in the final rounds of a draft is, by definition, the least desirable, and there is little concern over who gets it, especially relative to the amount of work it takes to GET an equal number of lots.


    If you have comments on the FAQ, please contact TexLUG.

    Many thanks to Steve Jackson for help in putting together this FAQ.

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